Thursday, 22 July 2010

Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus is a real tourist town at the south western end of Loch Ness. There are souvenir shops and boat tours on the lake. The original Fort Augustus, part of the chain of forts used to keep the highlanders in check after the Battle of Culloden, was coverted to a Benedictine Abbey in 1876. The Abbey was finally dissolved in 1998, when the building passed into private hands.

Because of it's position, it is a gateway to the highlands for many holidaymakers. For us it was the end of a gentle day's sailing and motoring down Loch Ness, enjoying the scenery bathed in sunlight, so different from yesterday. We passed close to the iconic Urquhart Castle, that appears in many a photo album of the area. There were very few boats on the loch: a couple of yachts and a handful of motorcruisers. At times it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

On arrival, all boats using the Caledonian Canal are required to moor at one of the pontoons, and go to see the lockkeeper about potential locking in times for the staircase leading to Loch Oich. We arrived at 3pm, and were unable to get a time, other than it would be sometime before the locks closed for the night.

One of the good things about the spot is that it has one of the British Waterways Users laundry facilities. We've been afloat three weeks, so use your imagination!

Then the bad news: the washing machine just broke down as a german couple were using it and we can't get through the lock tonight. Oh well. At least it's a nice spot.

57 08.777' N 04 40.550' W

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